“A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING”

The Riot!

25 Mar 2017 “A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING”

AT LIQUID RIOT’S BREWHOUSE, YOU’LL FIND A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Written by Maine Today beer writer: Dave Patterson (Read Online)

Sitting on plush leather couches in the back nook of Liquid Riot Bottling Co. on a quiet Monday afternoon, Eric Michaud and Greg Abbot helped me wrap my head around the expansive vision of the Commercial Street brewery, distillery and restaurant.

“Right from the start we had a lot going on. People like to pigeonhole breweries into categories, like this place makes Belgians or this place makes IPAs; we didn’t want to be pigeonholed,” said Michaud, Liquid Riot’s founder and chief executive officer.

Greg Abbot is the head brewer and Eric Michaud is founder and chief executive officer at Liquid Riot.
Greg Abbot is the head brewer and Eric Michaud is founder and chief executive officer at Liquid Riot.

It’s impossible to place Liquid Riot into a box. On any given day, the 16 taps at the brewpub are filled with a subject-to-change lineup of house-made beers, from sours to IPAs to stouts to saisons. And patrons can get cocktails mixed with house-distilled spirits, including vodkas, bourbons, rums and Maine’s only fernet.

“Part of the fun of brewing is pushing the boundaries and challenging what is expected,” said Abbot, the head brewer.

I admitted that this ever-expanding beer list and distillery made it hard to fully grasp exactly what Liquid Riot is as a brewery. Michaud laughed.

“I’ve traveled all around the world tasting beers, and I want to bring all those great styles and flavors to Liquid Riot,” he explained.

It’s this breadth of knowledge that makes Michaud and Abbot hungry to brew such diverse styles of beer.

Somewhere in the middle of our conversation, I got it: Liquid Riot is an experimental brewery dedicated to producing high-quality brews that push the boundaries of craft beer.

The best way to experience this vanguard mindset is through its new Small Batch Series, a barrel-aging program that allows Abbot and Michaud to flex their innovative muscles. These are truly beers like no one else is brewing.

Vinlandic, a Norwegian-inspired Brettanomyces farmhouse ale brewed with local grains and juniper boughs, aged in gin barrels, epitomizes Liquid Riot’s experimental style.
Vinlandic, a Norwegian-inspired Brettanomyces farmhouse ale brewed with local grains and juniper boughs, aged in gin barrels, epitomizes Liquid Riot’s experimental style.

Take, for example, the most recent release, Vinlandic, a Norwegian-inspired Brettanomyces farmhouse ale brewed with local grains and juniper boughs, aged in gin barrels. Yeah, it’s all those things, and it’s delicious.

Liquid Riot will release a beer in this series roughly every three months. Michaud explained that they can’t stick to a strict release schedule because the Brettanomyces yeast they use in many of the beers is hard to predict, and also, they want to leave things open so they can be spontaneous with the beers they brew.

The next release in this series is on March 28 with Straight to Black:Out, an imperial stout aged in Liquid Riot’s Old Port Single Malt Whiskey Barrels.

While discussing the Small Batch Series, Abbot wanted to make it clear that, though they are committed to experimentation, they maintain high standards.

“We’re not going to sell something if it’s not good,” he said. “Though we like to experiment, we’re also dedicated to consistency in our brewing.”

The consistency aspect of Liquid Riot can be found in its flagship lineup of cans released every Thursday at the brewery and around town at beer stores.

The sundry canning lineup is dialed in from batch to batch. Their oeuvre of cans is comprised of six regular releases, including Primus, a Belgian-style table beer; Sour Trouble, a sour brown ale; Headstash IPA, a dank, cannabis-forward IPA; and A Beer Has No Name, a juicy double IPA packed with all the sexy hops.

Before leaving, Michaud pointed to the exposed brewing equipment behind the bar. “This is our playground, and we’re going to keep playing,” he said.

Whether you hunker down at the bar to dig into their eclectic draft list, pick up bottles of their avant-garde Small Batch Series or search out 16-ounce cans of their flagship beers, do your palate a favor and experience Liquid Riot’s forward-looking beers.

LIQUID RIOT BOTTLING CO.
WHAT: An experimental brewhouse dedicated to high quality beers and spirits of all styles that also has a full kitchen menu. Its new Small Batch Series is a program of experimental, barrel-aged beers, including Straight to Black:Out, released at the brewery on March 28. Every Thursday, its six flagship styles are released fresh at the brewery.
WHERE: 250 Commercial St., Portland
WHEN: Open noon to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Liquid Riot
Liquid Riot
jim@gbritt.com

Liquid Riot Bottling Co.